The Great Gatsby Immersive Theatre Experience is a divinely unique piece of theatre. Billed as an invitation to one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties, we’re invited to a mansion in Mayfair where ‘guests’ (almost entirely in 1920s costume) are ushered through into a stunning bar/ballroom and after a themed cocktail (or two) the party begins.
As immersive theatre goes this is a brilliant concept. The story and the party happen around us, and from time to time groups are peeled off and taken through secret doors to side rooms and cloakrooms, where we’re invited to interact with the characters and witness conversations patchworked beautifully together from the novel.
Obviously, there’s singing, dancing and plenty of chance for involvement, and the atmosphere is euphoric at times, with brilliant choreography from Holly Beasley Garrigan, but that doesn’t mean that the more tender or dramatic scenes of the play lose their impact. In fact, one of the most impressive things about this show is how powerfully the key scenes play out. In the midst of the madness we witness some truly beautiful moments and there’s a pleasant balance of pain, humour and intimacy.
James Lawrence is a rare treat as our narrator Nick Carraway, navigating his way through the crowd and the story, as he tries to make sense of the events of the summer and his complicity in them.
Jessica Hern nails Jordan Baker’s insouciance and casually cruel charisma, and Oliver Towse brings a sweet brittle uncertainty to his portrayal of Gatsby – a self-made man, aching to be good enough, but overwhelmed by his dreams and desires, always reaching for something just beyond his grasp.
Lucinda Turner is outstandingly extraordinary as Daisy Buchanan, both enigmatic and vulnerable, convincingly broken and defiantly resilient. If you get the opportunity to follow Daisy’s storyline through the secret doors, then take it – the conversations in the ‘ladies only’ room felt genuine and honest, Daisy asking us for advice, asking how our own marriages are working out, what we believe she should do about hers, were gorgeous rare theatrical moments.
The whole cast are brilliant and throw themselves into their performances, there’s no-one not giving everything to this show, and not a dull moment. Every guest will have their own experience depending on who they follow, which rooms they end up in, or how much they choose to take part.
You can watch from the side-lines, or join in the party, it’s up to you – but go prepared to be absorbed as the battered dreams, betrayals and tender cruelty of Scott Fitzgerald’s world unfold around you.
Disclaimer – I love the novel, devoured the films, and think the experience will be much enhanced by having a really good knowledge of the story. There’s a lot going on, so if you don’t know the plot then it could potentially be quite confusing – though still a whole lot of fun!
Review by Roz Wyllie
Jay Gatsby invites you to one of his infamous parties. Expect to be immersed in a world of red hot jazz, bootleg liquor and pure jazz age self-indulgence.
From the Olivier Award winning producers of The Wolf of Wall Street, London’s longest running immersive theatre production The Great Gatsby transfers to the heart of the West End just in time to take London into the 20s.
Directed by Alexander Wright (The Wolf of Wall Street, Orpheus & Eurydice), The Great Gatsby invites you to Lindy Hop into the life of Jay Gatsby. Don your dancing shoes, dress to the nines and drink in this heart racing adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal tale of the Roaring Twenties.
While the champagne flows and the drama unfolds the man himself will be the perfect host. As invites go, this is the hottest in town – why would you want to be anywhere else?
Anyone under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18+. The Great Gatsby will challenge 25 so ID may be required or you may be refused entry.
The Great Gatsby
Booking to 31 May 2020
Gatsby’s Mansion, Immersive London, London